Kerala

Kole farmers heave a sigh of relief

The ready-to-harvest kole fields in Thrissur district. A scene from Pullazhi.

The ready-to-harvest kole fields in Thrissur district. A scene from Pullazhi.   | Photo Credit: K.K. NAJEEB

Harvesting of 5,800 hectares of kole fields before April 15

The uncertainty over kole fields in the district has finally been resolved. The district authorities have initiated steps to harvest paddy from kole fields before April 15.

Farmers of Ponnani-Thrissur kole fields were a worried lot after the announcement of the national lockdown as it stood in the way of the harvest. While harvesting was completed in 3,600 hectares, paddy was ready to be harvested in another 5,800 hectares.

Unavailability of harvesting machines was another issue. Farmers used to bring machines mostly from Tamil Nadu. Most machine operators are also from Tamil Nadu. Incidentally, they have all gone home in the wake of COVID-19 spread, and they are not inclined to return in view of the current situation.

At the same time, any delay in harvesting will cause huge loss to farmers. Summer rain and bird attacks add to their concern.

For the record, the Chief Minster had recently announced paddy harvesting as an essential service. He also said that restrictions on inter-State borders would not affect the arrival of harvest machines from Tamil Nadu.

Minister for Local Self Governments A.C. Moideen, District Collector S. Shanavas, Kole Development Authority officials, and Padasekhara Samitis discussed the issue here on Thursday.

Around 50 combined harvesting machines of Kerala Agro Industries Corporation will be despatched to the fields for harvesting, the Minister said. Some samitis have arranged their own harvesting machines. Considering the urgency of the matter, harvesting will be allowed from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Machine operators will strictly go by the COVID-19 safety protocols. They will be provided with food and accommodation. Special passes will be issued for transporting fuel for the machines.

The harvested paddy will be shifted to mills without delay. The Agriculture Department and local bodies will make alternative arrangements in case of emergency situations like rain. In such a scenario, paddy will be stored in local schools or halls. The district administration will make arrangements to address shortage of workers to shift paddy to mills.

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Printable version | Jun 4, 2020 8:38:03 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/kole-farmers-heave-a-sigh-of-relief/article31187719.ece

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